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Archives: July 2011


Proposed Tacoma billboard-ban ordinance released

Billboard critics and boosters have some reading to do if they want to talk at this evening’s Tacoma City Council meeting. A new proposal made public this afternoon by members David Boe and Marty Campbell will be on the agenda.

But a vote won’t happen for at least another week, and likely longer. There will be more opportunity to testify — if there’s anything that hasn’t already been said during many long hours of public comment on the contentious billboard issue.

Boe and Campbell’s proposal adopts the city Planning Commission’s call for largely maintaining 1997 restrictions on signs, and adding an explicit ban on digital billboards.

It would give billboard owner Clear Channel six months to take down billboards that don’t comply — as many as 193 of its roughly 250 signs.

Within a year, permits that have been awarded to the company to put up relocated billboards would expire.

Campbell said some kind of incentives may be considered to help with the removal of billboards. And City Attorney Elizabeth Pauli said some of the new restrictions would require the city to compensate owners.

By approving the measure, the council would be bowing out of a settlement with Clear Channel it approved last year that would have allowed the company to erect up to 38 electronic billboards in exchange for giving up its traditional billboards and permits.

Some on the council, including Mayor Marilyn Strickland, still favor an exchange of digital for traditional billboards. Others, including Jake Fey and Ryan Mello, side with Boe and Campbell against the digital signs. Read more »


County auditor notifies council about costs of charter amendments, redistricting

County Auditor Julie Anderson sent an email Monday to Pierce County Council members outlining the costs for charter amendment elections and for drawing precinct lines because of redistricting.

Here’s her email:

Julie Anderson
Pierce County Auditor

From: Julie Anderson
Sent: Monday, July 25, 2011 5:43 PM
To: Cindy Willis ; Dan Roach; Dick Muri ; Joyce McDonald ; Karen Castillo ; Leslie Swalley; Mark Williams; Rick Talbert ; Roger Bush ; Stan Flemming ; Tammi Lewis ; Thomas Swanson ; Timothy Farrell ; Victoria Woodards
Cc: Paul Bocchi; Gary Robinson; Jeff Cox; David Prather
Subject: Considerations l Charter Amendments

Councilmembers –

As you consider Charter Amendments for the November 2011 ballot, the following information may help:

· Cost.
· Multiple subjects.
· Timing.
· Partisan and nonpartisan election cycles.
· Redistricting impacts.
· Transition process for reduction in numbers.
· For and Against committees and statements.

The approximate cost of placing the Charter Amendments on the November 2011 ballot will be $205,000. This is based on an estimate of 410,000 registered voters at $0.50 cents per registered voter.

Read more »


GOP criticizes suit to overturn I-1053 tax limits

State Republicans and their leader in the state House, Rep. Richard DeBolt, put out statements this afternoon knocking the lawsuit filed by the League of Education Voters, 12 House Democrats and the state teachers union. The lawsuit filed this morning seeks to overturn the two-thirds legislative vote requirement for tax increases in the Legislature.


Pierce County Council members spar over cutting two council positions

Pierce County Council members sparred today over a proposal that would reduce the number of council members from seven to five, with council member Rick Talbert calling the move “an abuse of our power.”

Democrats Talbert and Tim Farrell said the next charter review commission in 2015 should decide whether a proposal to cut the size of the council should be forwarded to voters.

Talbert said the change “demands and warrants a lengthy conversation” which the voter-elected charter review commission would provide.

Talbert called the proposal a “radical” change that was suggested on a “whim.”

Council Chairman Roger Bush replied the proposal which he made a week ago that could save more than $500,000 a year wasn’t radical.

“It is not a whim and it certainly is not an abuse,” Bush said.

The council’s rules and operations committee voted 2-1 to move the proposal to a full council vote Aug. 9. If approved by at least five council members, the charter amendment would be put on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Read more »


Laurie Jinkins, other lawmakers sue over I-1053 supermajority

A dozen state legislators are suing their state, saying Washington voters have passed an unconstitutional measure that keeps them from raising taxes.

The lawsuit is being filed this morning by lawmakers, including Reps. Laurie Jinkins of Tacoma and Jamie Pedersen of Seattle, who laid the groundwork for their challenge to Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1053 during the legislative session.

Here’s some background on the political theater during the session, when the House couldn’t summon the two-thirds supermajority necessary to pass Jinkins’ bill that would have raised taxes on big banks in order to avert class-size increases in elementary grades.

Read more »


How Tacoma City Council districts might change

Like federal, state and county political districts, City Council districts must be redrawn based on new census data.

A committee of the council picked this map from four options this week, preferring it because its district boundaries tend to follow major arteries. The committee asked city staff to draw two new variations on the map, so this is far from final.

The council has until Dec. 4 to approve a final map.

Unlike the Pierce County Council’s new districts, the proposal wouldn’t draw any council members out of their districts. City staff said all 2011 candidates would remain in

Read more »